Sunday, 29 April 2018

Beauty & Lace Book Club Review: The Memories That Make Us by Vanessa Carnevale

This is the first novel that I have read by Vanessa Carnevale, and whilst I had seen the stunning cover on various platforms across social media, I wasn't fully aware of the synopsis, so I went into this one without too much background about the story (which I actually prefer in most cases).
The story begins with Grace Ashcroft and fiance Blake Beaumont driving to Grace's best friend Scarlett's birthday party.
They have a collision and Blake is left with some minor injuries, whilst Grace suffers severe amnesia. She remembers nothing of her past - no memories of Blake, or of her job, or anything else about her life prior to the accident.
She is too distressed to see Blake, and refuses to give in to his longing to remind her of the love they once shared, and his hopes to go back to the way things were.
Scarlett tries her best to remind her of things from her past, to no avail.
After Grace discovers that she had inherited a flower farm that was once owned by her mother, she makes the decision to head there and see if she can try and figure out some of the answers to the questions she has about her past life, and about who she was before the accident happened.
She is welcomed into the Summerhill community quite quickly; meeting her veterenarian neighbour Flynn, Tilly, an old friend of her mothers, and Charlie, a local fellow with a generous heart.
As Grace adapts to her new life, she makes the decision to revive the flower farm, and Flynn offers to help.
As their friendship develops, Grace is torn between struggling to remember Blake, who writes to her in the hopes of jogging her memory about the love they once shared, and her new relationship with Flynn.
Grace is forced to look at the person she has now become, and needs to work out where her future should take her.
I don't want to say too much more than that as I don't want to spoil it for others, although I must say that I didn't pick the ending!
The beginning of The Memories That Make Us did remind me of a movie I have seen before, but thankfully the similarities ended there.

As gardening is on of my hobbies, I particularly enjoyed reading the detailed descriptions of the flowers, and the process of preparing and growing the flowers. I also enjoyed reading about Tilly and Charlie, and would've liked to read more about both of them as they added a special element to the story.

Thank you to Beauty & Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read and review The Memories That Make Us. 
You can read my review on the Beauty & Lace Book Club post here

Thursday, 26 April 2018

See Hear by Tania McCartney and Jess Racklyeft 

This picture book is aimed at 3-6 year olds, and has an innovative flip-format.
It is a sequel to Smile Cry (which was released in 2017).
In See Hear, Piglet, Cat and Bunny return in an adventurous tale as they journey through the world around them and use their sense of sight and hearing to explore the magical moments of their lives.
From seeing a gift-wrapped surprise to hearing buzzing blossoms,  Piglet, Cat and Bunny engage in many adventures.
This is a great beginner's book about the senses.

See Hear is available through EK Books this month, and has an RRP of $24.99
For further information on this title, head here

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The Travel Activity Book (DK Books) 

If your child asks "Are we there yet?" after being in the car for only a short while and you are nowhere near your destination, then I recommend this fantastic activity book to keep them busy (and quiet!) for the journey.
It is equally as suitable for home or when on holidays.
My 8 year-old daughter had a great time helping me review this book! 
Packed with various activities including puzzles, quizzes, and over 250 stickers, this book also has sections that your child can write and draw in. 
The book is educational as it features different travel destinations, flags, and facts about different countries.

It has an RRP of $9.99. For further information on this title, head here

Monday, 23 April 2018

Children's Picture Book Review: Lessons Of A LAC written by Lynn Jenkins, Illustrated by Kirrili Lonergan

Loppy is a LAC (Little Anxious Creature) who is constantly worrying about dangers, which in turn makes him very anxious.
But one day, when he meets Curly Calmster on the other side of the mountain in the village where he lives, he is shown that there are ways to handle his stresses and not let them effect his day-to-day living.

This book is part of a series of books that will help guide children aged from pre-school to Grade 6 with their emotional development.
It is a really good book that will help to give your child a better understanding of their worries, and help them gain skills that they can use in order to help manage anxiety.

It is available now though EK Books, and has an RRP of $19.99.
For further information on this title, head here

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Children's Picture Book Review: The Bear In Our Backyard by Emma Middleton, Illustrated by Briony Stewart 

From the author and illustrator of The Lion In Our Living Room comes their latest companion book, The Bear In Our Backyard.
Siblings Tom and Tilly are back, and this time they are spending the day with their mum. But watch out, because there is a big brown bear around, and she may be grumpy if she is woken from her nap!
They head outdoors to see if bear will emerge, and there is a lot of fun to be had!!

This book encourages imaginative play, and pays homage to mothers who create magical moments for their children in many different ways every day. 

It is available now through Affirm Press, and has an RRP of $24.99
For further information on this title, head here

Monday, 16 April 2018

Children's Picture Book Review:
The Last Peach by Gus Gordon

 I have previously featured one of Gus Gordon's other books (titled Somewhere Else), on the blog here.
His latest release is The Last Peach, which tells the story of two insects that discover a beautiful peach on a hot summer's day.
The peach looks so delicious that the two insects both want to eat it.
Will they come to an agreement and share the peach, or will neither of them get to enjoy it?

The illustrations in this book are quite unusual and appealing. I adore the end papers which are adorned with delicious-looking peaches!

The Last Peach has an RRP of $24.99 
For further in formation on this title, head here

Friday, 13 April 2018

Do You Know About? Science by Emily Dodd (DK Books)

If your young reader has questions about Science, this book has all of the answers!
So many topics are covered in this comprehensive guide.
The book is set out in an easy-to-read format, with photos and diagrams.
There are true or false sections, and quick quizzes to recap the information given, with an answer section towards the end of the book to check your child's responses.
The book begins with a summary about what Science is, and then goes on to The Living World, where topics such as What Do Lions Eat? and Why Don't Polar Bears Freeze? are answered.
It then moves on to the Human Body, which covers How Do Cuts Heal? and How Do I Breathe? and more.
The Material World explains what a metal is, and how plastic is made.
The Energy section discusses Electricity, Heat and Sound.
In Forces and Movement, your child can learn about magnets, and how planes stay in the air during flight.
And in the final section of the book, Our Planet, there are many interesting facts about Earth and Outer Space.

Do You Know About? Science is available through DK Books, and has an RRP of $24.99
For further information on this title, head here

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Children's Board Book Review: 
100 First Animals (DK Books) 

This large-sized board book is the perfect introduction to animals for babies and toddlers.
Many creatures great and small are featured in this book, with a blend of photgraphic and animated images to accompany each one.
The animals are grouped into sections, for example, In The Sea, Black And White, Scales And Shells, and more.
The point-and-say feature will allow your child to build their vocabulary as they learn about the animals.

100 First Animals has an RRP of $16.99 and is available through DK Books. 
For further information on this title, head here

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Beauty & Lace Book Club Book Review - P Is For Pearl

I have read Eliza Henry Jones' previous book, Ache; it was one that I really enjoyed and I thought that it was beautifully written. I have been a follower of hers ever since then.
(If you don't follow her on Instagram yet, her feed is well worth checking out. Eliza regularly posts beautiful images of the fresh produce that she grows on her Yarra Valley property.)

P Is For Pearl is Eliza's first Young Adult novel, written years ago but one that was never submitted as she didn't think it was good enough.
I'm glad that Eliza decided to revisit her manuscripts and have this published.
The book explores the complexities of grief, mental health issues, friendships and love in a delicate and touching manner.

The main character is Gwendolyn P. Pearson, aged 17 years-old, who lives in a small Tasmanian coastal town with her father, step-mother Biddy, step-brother Tyrone, and adorable younger step-sister Evie.
We find out early on that she lost both her mother and younger brother Jamie, but it is unclear when and how.

When an incident takes place at the cafe that she works at with her best friend Loretta, it triggers memories of those past tragic circumstances and Gwen is forced to face what happened to her family.
The story unravels slowly and the reader begins to piece it together bit by bit with a blend of Gwen's diary entries which focus on past events, as well as her present-day situation.

The cast of characters are true to life and each play an important role in the story. A few of my favourites include the local policeman,Martin, Gwen's school friend Gordon, and both Tyrone and Evie. 

This book is ideal for teenaged readers, as it touches on many issues that they themselves may be experiencing.

Thank you to Beauty & Lace Book Club and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read and review P Is For Pearl.
You can see my original review on the Beauty & Lace website here

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Eat Your Greens, Reds, Yellows, and Purples - A Rainbow Cookbook For Australian Kids.

This cookbook is a fantastic way to get your kids not only cooking in the kitchen, but it also provides them with nutritional information about fruits and vegetables. 
There are some seriously delicious and healthy recipes included in this cookbook, which are divided up into sections according to their colour.
In the green group, some of the recipes include Spinach and Filo Tarts and Zucchini Frittata.
In the red group, Tomato Soup and Red Capsicum Hummus are featured amongst other yummy meals.
Layered Berry Cheesecake and Eggplant and Tomato Bake are a couple of recipes from the purple group.
Cornbread Mountain and Lemon Drizzle cake are featured in the yellow section.
And finally, in the orange group, your child can attempt Butternut Pumpkin Soup or Mango and Coconut Icy Poles.

The cookbook includes safety rules, and an equipment guide aswell.
There's plenty of helpful hints, and information about the importance of eating a healthy, balanced diet.

Eat Your Greens, Reds, Yellows And Purples is available through DK Books this April. It has an RRP of $24.99
For further information on this title, head here

Monday, 9 April 2018

Children's Picture Book Review: Oma's Buttons by Tania Ingram and Jennifer Harrison

When I received my copy of Oma's Buttons, I was instantly drawn to the beautiful illustrations. 
Jennifer Harrison's life-like images are so realistic that as I turned the pages, I felt as though I was looking at photographs.
Author Tania Ingram is equally as talented with her storytelling.
Her mother-in-law is the inspiration for the story of Oma's Buttons. She was born in a displaced persons camp in Kematen, and her experience as a refugee made her appreciate family traditions, as well as keeping memories of those near and dear in her heart.

In Oma's buttons, a young girl named Ruthie is visiting her Oma one day when she discovers a small tin filled with buttons in various shapes and sizes. 
Her Oma tells her that these buttons are memory buttons; each of the buttons reminds her of a special person and a special memory in her life that she has shared with that person.
There is a red one from her dear mother's apron that she wore when baking, one navy blue button from her husband's suit that he wore on their wedding day, and a wooden button from her who taught Oma about being brave. 
And there is even one that represents Ruthie!
But when she gets to keep a button that represents Oma and misplaces it, Oma shows her that there is one button that she can never lose..

This story is so beautiful. I love the bond that Oma and Ruthie share, and  have to admit that I actually cried whilst reading it with my youngest daughter! It is a really moving story about family and love. 
I highly recommend this lovely children's picture book.

Oma's Buttons has an RRP of $24.99.
For further information on this title, head here

Friday, 6 April 2018

Board Book Review: Baby's First Words

Baby's First Words is a beautiful and bright board book that your young reader is sure to enjoy!
The real life photographic images are raised up, allowing your child to not only look at, but feel objects like socks, shoes, flowers and a teddy bear.
This book will definitely stimulate your child's senses!
It is available now through DK Books and has an RRP of $9.99

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Beauty & Lace Book Club Book Review: The Rules Of Backyard Croquet by Sunni Overend

Apple March is 27 years old and is currently a manager at clothing boutique Loom, in Melbourne.
Following an incident years prior during her fashion designing course at a prestigious academy that left Apple disgraced, she dropped out and took the position at Loom and has been hiding away there ever since.
When her sister Poppy gets engaged, she wants Apple to make her wedding dress, but Apple isn't sure if she can handle delving back into fashion designing after avoiding it for so long.
After much deliberation and soul-searching, she agrees to make the dress, and goes along with Poppy to a bridal show for Poppy's work. 
Whilst there, she spots Charlie Beauchamp, a gentleman she once had a chance run in with, and the two become friends.
He also introduces her to his friend, Noah, who takes an instant liking to Apple. Charlie has a fiancee but continues to support Apple as she endeavours to re-emerge into the world of fashion. Noah also proceeds to build a relationship with Apple. But as she is faced with many challenges, which of these two men will be there for her through the highs and lows of not just the fashion world, but Apple's personal world too?

There are quite a few  well developed characters in this story. Apple's mum Ginny is a sweetheart and only wants the best for her two daughters. Poppy has a strong bond with Apple, and their support for one another throughout the story was endearing.
I adored the element of fashion throughout, reading about different textiles, styles, and also about the textile mill in Ho Chi Minh city that Apple visits with a co-worker.
Apple's friend from Loom, Ella Jackson is a character who is equal parts sass and smarts, and despite her potty mouth, she was one of my favourite characters.

I breezed through this book in a matter of days. It is a  heart-warming tale that I would happily recommend. Bonus points for the stunning cover!!!

Thank you to Beauty & Lace Book Club and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read and review this title. You can see my original review on the Beauty & Lace website here:

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

March Wrap Up : What I Read...

With Easter time and end of term, I almost forgot to post my wrap up of books I read in March!
But even though it is a few days late, here is my list of what I read in March:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
The Rules Of Backyard Croquet by Sunni Overened
Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
P Is For Pearl by Eliza Henry Jones
Now That I've Found You by Ciara Geraghty
Living On Hope Street by Demet Divaroren
The Love That I Have by James Moloney
Friend Request by Laura Marshall

I enjoyed almost all of these novels; the stand out was Now That I've Found You. I also thoroughly enjoyed The Hate U Give, Living On Hope Street and Little Fires Everywhere.

What did you read in March? Have you read any of the titles I read?